by Kevin C. Johnson
May 13, 2011
Jazz music fans probably thought Jazz St. Louis really outdid itself during its 2010-2011 season that included Al Jarreau, Sonny Rollins, David Sanborn and Stanley Clarke.
Turns out they were just warming up.
Herbie Hancock, Take 6, Ramsey Lewis, Stanley Jordan, Jeff Lorber, a Joshua Redman/Brad Mehldau Duo combo, and DMS, bringing together George Duke, Marcus Miller and Sanborn, all highlight Jazz St. Louis’ 2011-2012 season.
“We’re coming off a season that was fantastic, a season full of real accomplishment for us. Our support is growing, our fundraising is growing, and we’re getting artists we’d never thought we’d see perform at the Bistro,” says Jazz St. Louis executive director Gene Dobbs Bradford.
“We were worried we weren’t going to be able to top it, but somehow we have,” says Bradford, who calls the upcoming lineup a dream come true.
“This is our future. This is what we are capable of. We’re using our relationships to deliver first-rate jazz to St. Louis.”
Looking over the list of names coming in, Bradford says “things that used to seem impossible are now possible.”
One of those things is jazz great Lewis, making his debut at Jazz at the Bistro. Bradford says he approached him several years ago in New York City and asked him if he’d play at the club.
“He said you know I don’t really play clubs and that he’d been playing clubs for 30 years. He didn’t really need to do that anymore,” he says. “I know guys with clubs come up to him all the time. But we have a solid track record and a solid reputation, and that changes things.”
Snagging Take 6 meant a lot to the venue as well, especially after unsuccessfully trying to get them last season. But the stars just weren’t aligned then.
“I’ve always wanted to see them perform. Usually, they just do concert halls.” Their blend is extraordinary, and they’re doing very interesting things,” says Bradford.
The pairing of Redman with the Brad Mehldau Duo is another feather in the club’s cap. “They’re not doing too many clubs at all,” says Bob Bennett, director of operations and artistic administration for Jazz St. Louis. “Initially they weren’t going to do clubs at all. But we’ve had a relationship with both of those guys for years.”
The rundown of heavy-hitters makes one thing certain.
“People are coming to us for anything that’s jazz-related in the Midwest,” says Bennett.
Some Jazz St. Louis favorites returning include the Bad Plus, Marlena Shaw, Nicholas Payton, Christian McBride, Greg Osby and Jeremy Davenport.
New to Jazz St. Louis is the Legends of Jazz Series, which includes Herbie Hancock and the pairing of Duke, Miller and Sanborn, all centererd at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center, sponsored by World Wide Technology, Inc. The series pulls together what would have otherwise been one-off shows at Touhill.
Also new to Jazz at the Bistro next season are earlier performance times. They’ll move from 8:30 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. beginning in September.
Jazz St. Louis 2011-12 Season featuring the Wells Fargo Advisors Jazz at the Bistro Series
Subscription Series (all performances at Jazz at the Bistro)
— Take 6, Sept. 21-24, $40-$45
— Stanley Jordan’s Trio, Oct. 5-8, $25-$30
— Jeff Lorber Fusion featuring Jimmy Haslip & Eric Marienthal, Oct. 19-22, $30-$35
— John Scofield Jazz Quartet, Nov. 2-5, $30-$35
— Kurt Elling, Nov. 16-19, $30-$35
— Ramsey Lewis Electric Band, Nov. 30-Dec. 3, $35-$40
— Greg Osby, Dec. 14-17, $25-$30
— The Bad Plus, Jan. 4-7, 2012, $30-$35
— Ravi Coltrane Quartet, Jan. 18-21, 2012, $30-$35
— Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio, Feb. 1-4, 2012, $25-$30
— Anat Cohen Quartet, Feb. 15-18, 2012, $25-$30
— Freddy Cole, Feb. 29 – Mar. 3, 2012, $30-$35
— Vijay Iyer, Mar. 14-17, 2012, $25-$30
— Nicholas Payton Trio, March 28-31, 2012, $30-$35
— Marlena Shaw, April 11-14, 2012, $30-$35
— Tia Fuller Quartet, April 25-28, 2012, $25-$30
— Dafnis Prieto Trio, May 9-12, 2012, $25-$30
— Stanley Clark Trio (acoustic), May 23-26, 2012, $35-$40
Legends of Jazz Series (all performances at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center)
— Jazz St. Louis & Jazz Cruises present DMS — George Duke, Marcus Miller and David Sanborn, Aug. 7, $40-$60 with $150 Gold Circle that includes post-concert reception with the artist
— TBA, Nov. 6
— Herbie Hancock, March 18, 2012, $40-$60 with a $150 Gold Circle
— Jeremy Davenport, Nov. 25-26, $35, Jazz at the Bistro
— Joshua Redman/Brad Mehldau Duo, April 7-8, 2012, $40, Jazz at the Bistro
— University of Missouri-St. Louis, the Touhill Performing Arts Center and Jazz St. Louis presents the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival, April 19, 2012, acts and pricing to be announced
— Jazz St. Louis presents Cubano Be, Cubano Bop: Poncho Sanchez & His Latin Jazz Band featuring Terence Blanchard, April 20, 2012, Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center, $20-$65
— The Touhill presents Christian McBride Big Band, April 21, 2012, Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center, $20-$65
— Jim Manley’s Wild, Cool & Swingin’ Orchestra, June 3-4, Jazz at the Bistro, $20
— Coco Soul, June 10-11, Jazz at the Bistro, $20
— The Jazz Crusaders featuring Joe Sample, Wayne Henderson and Wilton Felder, 8 p.m. June 11, Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center, $35-$50 with a $100 Gold Circle available that includes a post-concert reception with the artists, touhill.org
— Tim Cunningham and Jim Stevens, June 17-18, Jazz at the Bistro, $20
— Denise Thimes, June 24-25, Jazz at the Bistro, $20
— Monterey Jazz Festival’s Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, June 27, Jazz at the Bistro, $10
— Eric Slaughter Trio with Jason Swagler, July 1-2, Jazz at the Bistro, $15
— Legacy Jazz Quintet: The Music of Miles Davis, 1959-1968, July 8-9, Jazz at the Bistro, $20
— Reggie Thomas with Mardra Thomas: The Farewell Performance, The Music of Stevie Wonder, July 15-16, Jazz at the Bistro, $20
— Willie Akins Quartet: The Music of the John Coltrane Quartet, July 22-23, Jazz at the Bistro, $20
— Good 4 The Soul, July 29-30, Jazz at the Bistro, $20
Shows go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday. Tickets for the Jazz Crusaders are on sale now.
Residency Artists (all performances at Jazz at the Bistro)
— Sherman Irby Quartet, Oct. 28-29, $25
— Byron Stripling, Feb. 24-25, $25
— Matt Wilson’s Arts & Crafts, March 23-24, $30
Spotlight Series (all performances at Jazz at the Bistro)
— Funky Butt Brass Band, Sept. 9-10, $20
— TBA, Sept. 16-17
— TBA, Sept. 30-Oct. 1
— Anita Jackson, Oct. 14-15, $15
— Scratch plays the Music of the Crusaders, Nov. 11-12, $15
— Good 4 the Soul, Dec. 9-10, $20
Single tickets for Jazz at the Bistro shows (except for Summer Series) go on sale at 10 a.m. August 16 at MetroTix outlets, metrotix.com and by calling 314-534-1111. Touhill shows go on sale June 14 at touhill.org.